Camilla Parker Bowles Gives Awkward Pause When Asked If She Will Miss Prince Harry & Meghan Markle

'Hmm. Course,' she answered tersely.

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall hosts her annual children's christmas party at Clarence House
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'Hmm. Course,' she answered tersely.

Camilla Parker Bowles paused awkwardly for a second and then answered rather tersely when asked if she will miss Harry and Meghan, People reports.

The Duchess of Cornwall — stepmother of Prince Harry and stepmother-in-law of Meghan Markle — was going about her routine royal duties on Monday, celebrating the 40th anniversary of a Swindon hospice facility, when a reporter asked her a question that she apparently didn’t expect.

“Will you miss Harry and Meghan?” the reporter inquired.

After a pause, the duchess reportedly responded, “Hmm. Course.”

So does this incident lend credence to rumors of a rift in the royal family and hurt feelings between Prince Harry and those closest to him over the couple’s decision to retire from their royal duties? No one knows the answer to that question, except possibly Camilla herself. But in the interest of fairness, there are several possible explanations for the duchess’ awkward pause and terse response.

For example, she could have been put off by the reporter’s question — after all, she was in Swindon to celebrate the hospice facility, not to answer queries about her stepson and stepdaughter-in-law. Or, she might not have been armed with a prepared response and was simply taking a minute to gather her thoughts, before giving an answer that wouldn’t lead to further questions.

It’s also possible that she could be genuinely upset with Harry and Meghan.

Rumors of a feud within the royal family have been coming and going in the media since before Harry and Meghan said “I do.” They have been coming out with even more frequency ever since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced that they would be “stepping back” as senior members of the royal family, seeking their own financial independence and splitting their time between the U.K. and Canada.

Queen Elizabeth II, who, for all intents and purposes, is the final word on what goes on within the British monarchy, has been trying to stay ahead of the curve on how the British public digests the news of Harry and Meghan’s departure — Megxit, as it’s being called. At the same time, she hasn’t directly given credence to the rumors of a split.

In a statement issued this weekend, Her Majesty expressed her sadness at the couple’s departure but wished them well.

“Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family. I recognize the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life,” she said.

Their official departure will take place on an as-yet-unannounced date in the spring of 2020.